Each week, it seems there's a new anniversary of a pop culture milestone from the 1990s (remember all the Sex and the City stories in June?). This week is no exception.

On July 29, 1998, the Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap hit theatres. A remake of the 1961 Hayley Mills classic, the Nancy Meyers-directed movie immediately caught on with a young audience and earned about $92 million at the box office. Lohan, age 12, rocketed to stardom.

In a surprising twist, one cast member has turned into the movie's true hero in the last several years - and it's probably not who you would expect.

That's right - Meredith Blake (played by Elaine Hendrix) has become known as the real star of The Parent Trap. For those who don't remember, Meredith was the undisputed villain. Annie and Hallie (Lohan) are identical twins whose parents divorced shortly after the babies were born, and each parent took one daughter. When the girls discover each other's existence at summer camp years later, they team up and scheme to get their mom and dad (Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid) back together.

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Unfortunately, when the twins return home from camp, Meredith is standing in their way. She's a 26-year-old powerhouse publicist; she has an impeccable wardrobe; and after a whirlwind romance, she gets engaged to their dad, a wealthy vineyard owner.

Operation Take Down Meredith commences, as Annie and Hallie pull prank after prank in an effort to drive Meredith away. (Remember the lizard?) In the iconic scene near the end, after the twins push Meredith into the lake during a camping trip while she's asleep on an air mattress, Meredith throws down an ultimatum.

"Here's what's going on, buddy," she fumes to their dad, Nick. "The day we say 'I do' is the day I ship those brats off to Switzerland. Get the picture? It's me or them."

Nick wastes no time choosing his daughters. "Them," he says.

Villain Meredith Blake (played by Elaine Hendrix), has become the unsuspecting hero of the film all these years later. Photo / Supplied
Villain Meredith Blake (played by Elaine Hendrix), has become the unsuspecting hero of the film all these years later. Photo / Supplied

Victory! At the time, it seemed very satisfying. But over the years, many viewers have revised their initial opinions of the movie's "villain," who was actually a wildly successful young woman trying to marry the man of her dreams.

One Twitter user, @Lukejd3232, wrote: "13 year old me never knew how much I would become Meredith Blake. I'm sorry for judging you sis."

Another Twitter user, @EvanBotkin, said: "Pitch idea @Disney: Give the Parent Trap the Maleficent treatment. Show us Meredith Blake's side to the story dealing with evil red-head twins."

She has also become a meme, as people point out that they are not nearly as successful in their 20s as she was.

"I am the same age as Meredith Blake was in the Parent Trap," Twitter user @ETphonehome___ wrote. "She was about to marry an insanely handsome winery owner and I'm about to have Cheerios for dinner."

Why did no one realise that Annie and Hallie's scheme was diabolical, some ask.

"It's too simple to dismiss Meredith as a mere swamp witch, as I once had," Elena Nicolaou wrote for Refinery29 in a piece titled, "Justice For Meredith Blake, The Parent Trap's Unsung Hero." "She's not a cookie-cutter antagonist. She's a fully realised character with ambition, drive, and vulnerability beneath that perfectly coiffed exterior."

Hendrix, who played Meredith, has a sense of humour about it all. A few weeks ago, a viral tweet displayed photos of Meredith and declared, "Kids today will NEVER know how much we HATED this woman." Hendrix quoted the images in a tweet of her own and joked, "I will ship every one of you brats off to Switzerland." It currently has about 194,000 retweets.

"I can't believe the legs this movie has had," Hendrix told the New York Post in an interview last week. "I've gotten fan mail that literally makes me cry . . . I really feel honoured because I had no idea that any of this would happen."